# International Trends 2020: Universal Basic Income

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# UBI Is Not Inevitable

UBI is attractive because it appears to meet certain inevitable needs. Automation will eventually create sky-high unemployment rates, thereby triggering social unrest. However, the second and third order effects of UBI’s implementation are catastrophic, so it is incredibly unwise to assume UBI to be an inevitable economic development. It is not the need for UBI that is exigent, but the need to handle unavoidably high rates of unemployment.

### Why Does Silicon Valley Care So Much?

I’m not trying to win a popularity contest here.

Why do you hear so much from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs about UBI? Because they recognize the effects their products will unavoidably have on labor markets and are wise enough to position themselves in anticipation. As more products are virtualized and more nodes in the economy are singularized into Silicon Valley’s products, where do the jobs go and what happens as currency flows into the hands of fewer and fewer? So if UBI dispenses tons of artificial liquidity into the economy, who do you think will benefit most as products are virtualized?

What do Silicon Valley apps and all virtualized products monetize? Essentially, your time and attention. This is especially true of social media products. Media should not advocate for UBI because the have they most to gain from consumers’ collective idle time.

Still, Silicon Valley’s desire to posture themselves to handle unemployment is not selfishly motivated. They know it’s real and genuinely want handle this, but the people affected will look for people in power who profited from business and policy.

### Complexity Theory Partially Determines the Progression of Unemployment

Computational complexity of specific problems determines the degree to which automation affects the economy, as well as this trend’s timing, pacing and completeness. Additionally, quantum computing’s availability and applicability of causes a second major wave in the trend of automation.

### The Employer of Last Resort

The correct answer is an option for universal service. That is, the government becomes the employer of last resort. This solution avoids product-classification, artificial regulation of markets, the complexity of a possible dual currency system and all the resulting economic distortion. However, this solution does not avoid the need for the government to finance this labor. National service also requires that we establish logistics and operations to mobilize between 20 and 100 million Americans. This must be done five to ten years ahead of time.

### What We Build Ends Up Building Us

The main advantage to National Service over UBI is that what we build ends up building us. We need to rebuild infrastructure anyways.

# The Pragmatic Implementation of UBI

UBI can be packaged in various forms, including tax credits and other systems of wealth redistribution. The pragmatic implementation of UBI is disappointing and even when expenditures of UBI cash aren’t regulated, it still results in economic distortion and disruption of incentivation structures. In the long-term, it is economically unsustainable, but the problems it addresses are unavoidable.

UBI where expenses are controlled ends up being a transition into a command economy. Several of the following criticisms below only apply to UBI when its usage is regulated, but can still be extended to be criticism of tightly regulated economies in general.

# We Are the Sum of Humanity’s Realized Potential

Economic growth ultimately stems from the net contributions of individuals. It’s built from the ground up. We know that we are going to have dozens of millions of unemployed between ages 20 and 60 by the 2030’s. The point is to invest that human potential and manpower to get the greatest return possible in anticipation of greater future threats to human existance. More challenging than the operational aspects is convincing Americans that this is not only necessary, but should be enthusiastically embraced when technology seems to remove most constraints. To do this we need a cultural transformation to produce a society built on values and character with a strong sense of identity and duty.

# Part Four:

#### Governance in Space and the Post-Westphalian Era

The fourth part in this series is my fave. It covers the transition to space, the accompanying economic shifts and the evolution of governence mechanisms. As we approach the apex of globalization, we reach the end of the Westphalian era. We find that transnationalism wedges itself in the frame of international law and is used to contort precedent. Then, as we begin to colonize space, humanity again rearchitects our outermost paradigms of governance, leading to a transition away from the brief post-Westphalian period.